11th Gwangju Biennale
2. 9. – 6. 11. 2016

Exhibition - The Eighth Climate (What Does Art Do?)

In light of the art sphere’s focus on infrastructure in many parts of the world, in the treacherous terrains of existing public and private systems, art itself seems to be partly forgotten. At GB11, attention is directed to artworks and projects addressing the agency of art in terms of the question, “what does art do?” A central part of this interest in the performative aspect of art is its projective and imaginative qualities—art’s active relationship to the future. Other concerns of GB11 include the mediation of art: art’s embeddedness in various contexts and the potential of connecting dots between already existing activities and people near and far.

The “eighth climate” of the exhibition’s title refers to a state one might reach using imaginative capacities. The notion of the eighth climate dates back to 12th century Persian mystic and philosopher Sohravardi, and was elaborated by 20th century French philosopher Henri Corbin. It is an addition to the seven physical climates of the earth identified by ancient Greek geographers. Unlike the seven earthly climates, the eighth climate is not based on a separation of matter and spirit, history and myth; rather, it is ontologically real and has concrete effects.

The eighth climate might well resonate with global warming. However, in the context of GB11, the eighth climate helps us explore art’s capacity to say and do something about the future, without either being paralyzed by its prospects or defaulting to established technologies of prediction. The eighth climate evokes art as a seismograph, detecting change before other means of observation, whether the artists are conscious of it or not, allowing for slightly different—and perhaps ambiguous and conflictual perspectives on how art engages with what lies ahead of us. This neither implies art for art’s sake nor a utilitarian approach.

While placing art center stage, GB11 is a constellation of various parts taking place throughout 2016. GB11 comprises Monthly Gatherings, the ongoing Infra-School, a group of national and international Biennale Fellows, the Forum, two publications and an exhibition which stretches from the Gwangju Biennale building to other venues and places in the city.

Location: Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall, Asia Culture Center, 5.18 Archives, Mudeung Museum of Contemporary Art, Uijae Art Museum, Woo Jaeghil Art Museum, Nuribom Community Center, Hansaebong Agriculture Ecological Park, Old Gwangju station, Mite-Ugro.


Monthly gatherings and Infra-School
every month from January–November 2016
Professional and press preview
August 31–September 1, 2016
September 2–November 6, 2016

Forum to All The Contributing Factors
September 2–4, 2016
Finnisage with Inter-Asia
Biennale Forum

November 4–6, 2016